Sunday, November 20, 2016

Masculinity in The Pacifier (2005)

The Pacifier (2005) stars Vin Diesel, and is about a navy seal that has to babysit five children for a few weeks. This film has an interesting take on masculinity, and for a campy Disney movie it has complex and dynamic male characters. As the movie begins, the Diesel’s character is the epitome of masculinity. Diesel’s character starts out in the middle of action, using different weapons and violence in order to get his way. His famous line is “you follow my way, there is no highway option.”

As the movie progresses and he ends up watching the family, he tries to bring in his traditional masculinity into watching the children, which doesn’t work at all. His character begins to realize that his rigid way of viewing things isn’t necessarily appropriate. Diesel’s character begins to take on a fatherly role, and his rigid, dominant masculine personality starts to unwind. His character begins to care about the children under his watch. As he takes on this fatherly role, the depths of his character are revealed. He shows an emotional side through sharing the loss of a parent and connecting emotionally with each of the kids.

Additionally, there is another male character in The Pacifier worth discussing, one of the teenage children. At first, he seems like the classic sullen teenager. He participates in the wrestling team, regularly skips class, and is disrespectful to authority. As the film proceeds, the depths of his character are revealed. In the end, it’s exposed that his character dislikes wrestling and only takes part in the team because of his father. The character actually enjoys theater and acting, something that many may think is unacceptable for a teenage boy.

While The Pacifier is a touching movie that breaks down some of the ideas we have about men's masculinity, this film still glorifies violence. Vin Diesel’s character is an extremely violent person who uses violence to help get his way, and teaches the people around him that they should do so too.

To conclude, for a small movie made in 2005, The Pacifier has an interesting take on masculinity and brings in dynamic male characters that aren’t the typical masculine men. However, even with all the good, it still does glorify violence and violent masculinity. 

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